Nov 13, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) completes a pass against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half at FedEx Field. The Washington Redskins won 26 – 20. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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The Washington Redskins are coming off of a huge win. Can they notch another one against the Green Bay Packers?
The Washington Redskins are continuing their NFC North battles on Sunday night. After beating the Minnesota Vikings at home in Week 11, the team will welcome another foe from the same division in the Green Bay Packers. The Packers have been struggling of late, losing their last three games, and they currently are sitting at 4-5. They are hungry for a win this week.
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The Redskins come into this game with a 5-3-1 record. They are right in the thick of the Wild Card race, and are coming up to one of the toughest parts of their schedule. The team looks ready to make a statement, and this week will undoubtedly be important for them, playing in front of their home fans.
With all of that said, it is time to take a look at what will happen in the game. Here is an in-depth preview for the Redskins vs. the Packers in Week 11.
Nov 13, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder (80) runs after a catch as Minnesota Vikings cornerback Terence Newman (23) looks on during the second half at FedEx Field. The Washington Redskins won 26 – 20. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Redskins Pass Game vs. Packers Defense
The Redskins absolutely could not be taking on the Packers at a better time in terms of their secondary. The Packers are without a number of their top players, including stud corner Sam Shields, and they are coming off a performance where they were dismantled. Marcus Mariota and the Titans threw all over the team, and managed to total 295 passing yards and four touchdowns. DeMarco Murray even threw for a 10 yard score.
The Redskins are going to have a chance to do the same to the Packers. Kirk Cousins is really starting to hit his stride, and his ability to be hyper accurate should allow him a chance to pick apart the Green Bay defense. It would not be surprising to see him eclipse the 300 yard mark.
In terms of his receiving corps, the unit should do extremely well. DeSean Jackson may be inactive for the game, but even if he is, Pierre Garcon will pick up the slack. Garcon had six catches for 81 yards last game, and he should be able to be the de facto No. 1 option.
Aside from Garcon, Jamison Crowder will have a chance to do some damage. The Packers do not have anyone who would really be capable of covering the stellar slot man, so he could post some big numbers. At the end of the day, the Redskins have a big advantage in this matchup.
Nov 13, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running back Robert Kelley (32) carries the ball as Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Tom Johnson (92) chases in the first quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Redskins Run Game vs. Packers Defense
The Packers were equally as bad in their run defense last week as they were in pass defense. Granted, they were without Clay Matthews, but he would only have marginally improved them in that category. DeMarco Murray was able to gash them, and this week Rob Kelley could get a chance to do the same.
Kelley has looked very good since becoming the starting back for the Redskins. His strong play has pushed Matt Jones to the inactive list, and he came close to recording his first 100 yard game last week. In Week 11, he will definitely have a chance to do that.
The Redskins should look to get the ball to Kelley early and often to open up opportunities in the play action game. The Packers do not have the capability to play well in the secondary right now, so play action could end up being their downfall. They will also struggle against the Redskins offensive line, which has looked good despite the absence of Trent Williams.
Overall, Kelley should be able to do enough for the Redskins in this game. He and Chris Thompson will continue to share the load and that will be a successful combination for the team.
Nov 13, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is sacked by Tennessee Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo (98) during the second half at Nissan Stadium. The Titans won 47-25. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Packers Pass Game vs. Redskins Defense
Aaron Rodgers has not looked quite right this season. The star quarterback appears to be having issues with his passing ability. Though he has looked better over the last few games, he has not been able to lead his team to victory. He has lost the clutch trait that once made him elite. It remains to be seen whether or not he will regain that.
Still, the Redskins defense has to be afraid of Rodgers. He possesses the ability to make virtually any throw if he is given time in the pocket. He also has a solid group of receivers that are led by Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. Nelson has been emerging over the past month after looking slow coming off of an injury to start the season. Meanwhile, Adams has posted a whopping 403 yards on 35 catches over his last four games. He has really improved after a bad sophomore campaign.
I will be interested to see how the Redskins look to defend against these receivers. I would imagine that Josh Norman would matchup against Nelson, but anything is possible. Kendall Fuller seems likely to cover Adams while Bashaud Breeland could be stuck on Randall Cobb. This will be an important battle, as the three receivers will give the Redskins some trouble.
With all of that said, this matchup is going to be a toss-up. I could see the Redskins doing well, and I could see them allowing a lot of chunk plays. This battle seems to be the one that will likely decide the outcome of the game.
Nov 13, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Green Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) scores a touchdown during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Packers Run Game vs. Redskins Defense
I have no faith in the Packers run game. James Starks is back from injury, but is he going to be able to carry a full workload? I doubt it. The team has converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery, but they do not seem to like to give him a lot of touches. Because of this, they will have some trouble moving the ball against the Redskins run defense.
Speaking of their run defense, it has markedly improved since the first few weeks of the season. Joe Barry seems to have put an emphasis on improving in this area, and this is encouraging for the Redskins fans. They were able to wipe out the Vikings last week, so I would imagine that they can do it again against a decimated Packers running back corps.
The only wild card could be Starks’ health. He saw some action last week, but did not get a chance for a full workload because of the state of the game. If he is fully healthy and ready to go, then he could end up giving the Redskins some problems. Still, I find this unlikely and think that the Redskins should be favored in this facet on Sunday night.
Nov 13, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden walks off the field after the game against the Minnesota Vikings at FedEx Field. The Washington Redskins won 26 – 20. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
The Redskins are coming off of a huge win, but they will not underestimate the importance of this one. They are facing a reeling Packers squad who will be desperate for a win. The Packers are coming off of an embarrassing defeat, so they are going to be ready to strike back. The Redskins need to understand this in order to have a chance.
In short, I think they will. Jay Gruden seems to have his team in the right head space coming out of the bye. They are hitting their groove much like they did last season. If they can continue on their win streak, the team will have a chance to gain more ground in the Wild Card race. I think the team understands the importance of this, and for that reason, I think they will win on Sunday.